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Matildas attacker Emily Gielnik relishing opportunity to push for World Cup spot

Aston Villa forward Emily Gielnik intends to cash in on the absence of a host of first-choice Matildas in Australia’s friendly matches against Spain and Portugal next week.

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has selected a largely experimental squad for two away games, resting a host of top-liners, including captain Sam Kerr.

While 30-year-old Gielnik concedes an understrength Matildas will find the going tough, she’s thrilled about the likelihood of more game time and pushing her claims a Women’s World Cup berth next year.

“I see this as a big opportunity,” former Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar attacker Gielnik said from Matildas camp in Spain.

“One door shuts, another one opens. It’s more possible that I could be getting some game time, so I’m just relishing that opportunity to prove to Tony that I deserve to be here.

“Sometimes you feel you deserve a little bit more (of a chance), but things are out of your control.

“I’m big team player, so I support everyone that does play ahead of me, and when I get my chance, I try to take it.

“(There has been) disappointment in the past but I’m trying not to reflect on that, I’m trying to reflect on that.

“The big picture for me is getting myself in that World Cup squad and playing, not just being there, but really being involved.”

Gielnik added she was seeking “redemption” after a less-than-satisfying maiden season with Villa in the English Women’s Super League.

“It wasn’t my best season individually but … Aston Villa as a club were very supportive, with a very good footballing culture over there,” said Gielnik, who scored just twice in 17 appearances in all competitions for Villa.

“It’s European football, it’s unreal and it’s at the top level. We didn’t do too well as a team overall but they’re making lots of changes and next (season) is looking really promising, so I’m looking forward to that.”

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